Verdict 2017: Will the chariot keep rolling for BJP?

Rajat Kain

Huge crowd gather on Varanasi roads for PM Narendra Modi road show  on Saturday Photo-PTI

Huge crowd gather on Varanasi roads for PM Narendra Modi road show on Saturday
Photo-PTI

Given the exit poll conclusions, BJP is winning Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand hands down, leading in Goa and even have an outside chance in Manipur. Only in Punjab they are in an arrangement, which is facing a rout. But all in all, it is a welcome development for the ruling party.

However, the picture remains incomplete till the actual results trickle in on Saturday morning. The exit polls have been tricky in the past as well.

But what the exit polls broadly concur is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi still remains popular with the electorate on the ground; second, his decisions are well liked, admired and even backed by the voters and lastly, there is no narrative yet that can counter the BJP-led Centre on its performance scorecard.

The victory in the state polls will also be sort of referendum on the performance and the decision making of the Modi government, and in particular on its decision to ban the higher denomination currency notes of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 after that surprise announcement on the evening of November 8, 2016.

FILE: New Delhi: File photo of Opposition protest against the demonetisation at Parliament house. Photo - PTI

FILE: New Delhi: File photo of Opposition protest against the demonetisation at Parliament house.
Photo – PTI

While the decision was flayed tooth and nail by the Opposition, with a section of them even leading a march to President’s doors, the ruling BJP had defended it as the one that will strongly help country in battling corruption, terrorism, besides giving boost to the economy.

The issue had become so politically charged that the entire Winter session of the parliament was washed out due to opposition protest, where even some of its allies had joined in.

Victorious show on Saturday, especially in UP and Uttarakhand, will give government solid grounds to get back at the opponents and even rip apart their protest and apprehensions.

Already, Modi government is citing the recently released GDP figures giving a 7% growth rate in the October-December 2016 quarter, to pitch its argument that demonetisation didn’t negatively impacted the economy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah leave after the NDA meeting at Parliament house in New Delhi on Monday ahead of the Winter Session.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah leave after the NDA meeting at Parliament house in New Delhi on Monday ahead of the Winter Session.

The win will also give the government as well BJP chief Amit Shah’s party organisation an even stronger momentum for the assembly polls due to be held in the coming two years, most of them on BJP strongholds like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

But an adverse result — in case the BJP is not able to form the government in any of the four states — the Opposition will get all the handles to take on government even fervently. They may call it a referendum on the Modi government at the Centre besides running down demonetisation move.

BJP’s loss in the polls may well give a new narrative to its political opponents as they head for a mega 2019 clash, which is now little over two years from now.